Drought escalating in North West and Northern Cape

The drought in the north and north-western parts of the Northern Cape has escalated to such an extent that Agri Northern Cape has lodged an application for government disaster relief for the affected farmers.

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Agri Northern Cape president, Henk van Wyk said parts of the summer rainfall areas in Calvinia, Loeriesfontein, Brandvlei and Pofadder had received virtually no rain for the past three years. “We need state support. The provincial government just does not have money to help us and can’t even subsidise animal feed transport costs. If we don’t get help, a considerable number of the farmers will be forced out of the business.”

Conditions in North West were also deteriorating fast and Agri North West president, Cor Janse van Vuuren, reported that cattle in some areas had weakened to such an extent that they could hardly stand. The central and western parts of the province had received very little rain. The situation was exacerbated by expensive animal feed, according to Van Vuuren.

‘‘Conditions for grain production are also very worrying and in some parts farmers have not even started with preparation of lands for planting,” he said. Santam Agriculture weather expert, Johan van den Berg said that grain producers in the western parts of the summer production region could expect more rain from mid-November 2012. 

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